MARION — The biggest applause lines during the first minutes of the debate Thursday night among 12th U.S. House District candidates occurred during an exchange between Democratic nominee Bill Enyart and GOP nominee Jason Plummer.
The question they were responding to centered on whether tax increases on wealthier Americans would cut the nation’s $16 trillion national debt.
Enyart blamed the debt on what he described as the “millionaire tax cuts” that occurred under former President George W. Bush.
“Because they’re not paying their fair share of taxes,” Enyart said.
Enyart then pivoted to the issue of Plummer’s refusal to disclose his income tax returns — a step Enyart had taken back in July when he disclosed 11 years of his personal tax returns.
“I don’t care how much Mr. Plummer made,” Enyart said. “I care how much he paid. If Mr. Plummer wants to go to Congress and if he wants to write tax policy, don’t you think it’s fair that he disclose what his tax returns are?”
When the debate turned to the issue of immigration. Candidates had different opinions on the Dream Act, which would provide citizenship to children of illegal immigrants currently living in the United States.
“If they are already here and have kids here, they should become citizens,” Bradshaw said.
Enyart said he supports the Dream Act. He highlighted the portion of the act that permits immigrants who enter the military service to obtain citizenship. He also said farmers and orchard owners wouldn’t be able to produce the food they do without its migrant workers, who obtain agricultural visas to work in the United States.
“If they pay taxes and pay into Social Security, I see no reason they shouldn’t be allowed to legally work,” Enyart said.
Plummer said he doesn’t support the Dream Act. He said he’s in favor of providing “a pathway to citizenship for people who are here for the right reason.”
He said America needs to be protective of it’s borders and ensure American citizens have the opportunity for jobs before providing citizenship for illegal immigrants.